Supermarkets muscle in on craft beer market

Pubs first plea: Tesco has launched a range of craft beers

Consumers have been urged to increase support for their local pub after a host of supermarkets jumped on the craft beer bandwagon.

This week, Waitrose announced plans for 25 new craft and speciality beers bringing its selection to 90. Sales of speciality beer at the supermarket have risen by 33% in the past year and the grocer has also invested in smaller breweries, including some beers that have never had a national listing before.

Last month, Tesco culled 30 Heineken brands to make more space for a craft beer selection. There was a craft beer push across 402 of its Express stores, expanding its portfolio from two to around 30 different speciality brews, including variants from BrewDog, Brooklyn and Innis & Gunn.

Rollout across stores

The Co-op already announced a rollout across its stores in 2016, including brews from Brooklyn, Goose Island, Pistonhead, Adnams, Leffe, BrewDog, Blue Moon and Samuel Adams.

Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chairman Colin Valentine said the consumer group welcomed the range of beers available in supermarkets but urged consumers to support pubs.

“We would always encourage people to visit their local pub as their primary drinking venue.

“Pubs play a hugely important role to both local communities and to an individual’s personal wellbeing. Regular pub-going can help improve a person’s happiness and feeling of belonging to a community, which can never be replaced by drinking at home.

'Falling footfall'

"Our great British pubs are under threat from falling footfall, so we would encourage people to continue to visit their local as the premier destination to try a great range of real ales."

Society of Independent Brewers Associations (SIBA) managing director Mike Benner said: "It's great to see supermarkets recognising the importance of introducing more craft beer, but the selection is still far too dominated by big craft brands owned by the global beer companies, and we would like to see more prominence for local independent British craft beers.

“SIBA's Assured Independent British Craft Brewer initiative aims to help consumers identify beer from quality, local, independent breweries, which SIBA's research has shown is what consumers consider to be genuine craft beer."

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